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Page 6 Fayetteville State University Homecoming ‘96 Edition
September 20, 1996
As I was thinking about today and how
I would respond, I couldn’t help thinking about
my mother, and it brought to mind one of my
favorite Langston Hughes poems.
Mother to son:
Well, son, I’ll tell you;
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on.
And reachin ’ landin’s
And turnin ’ corners
And sometimes goin’in the dark.
Where ther ain’t been no light.
So, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps,
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
In 1880, a young Charles W. Chesnutt
became the principal of the 13-year-old State
Colored Normal School, located in a two-
story wood-frame building on Gillespie
street in Fayetteville. The school was the
first such state-assisted endeavor for Black
North Carolinians, and among the first teacher-
training institutions established for African-
Americans in the south.
Chesnutt wrote that the mission of the
institution was, and I quote: “to inspire the
young men and women with ambition ..
honorable ambition, and earnest desire for
usefulness, and we would point them to the
heights of knowledge, and tell them how to
attain them; to the temple of fame and how
to reach it ... They will be better men and
women, if they cherish high aspirations.”
Chesnutt himself went on to become an outstanding role model for his former normal school
charges, with a writing career that brought him national acclaim as the first widely-known African-
In 1924, Chesnutt’s successor, Dr. E.E. Smith, proudly shared the following in a letter to Professor
J.W. Seabrook at Columbia University: “Our normal school numbers 25 in the junior and 25 in the senior
class ... Our high school has a little more than 450. Thus, you perceive we are going forward.”
In the same letter. Dr. Smith referred to the competition between the Durham and Winston-Salem
schools for designation as a college, which, he wrote, “has grown almost to white heat. It now looks
doubtful as to the landing of the college into either of said institutions.”
Indeed, history proved that Dr. E. E. Smith’s institution was destined for college status, and, no doubt, when
Dr. Seabrook later became president of the school, he was inspired by Dr. Smith’s legacy to embark on
what we know was a tremendous period of growth and progress for FSU under his leadership.
\n V961 Dr Rudolph 3ones, in his address before the Governor’s Commission of Educati^ Beyond
the High School, stated; “Prior to 1960, all students who entered Fayetteville State Teachers College ori
a four-year program were permitted to major in elementary education only. This rneans that all
members of the present junior and senior classes wiJl receive degrees in elementary education.
“Beginning in 1964, we hope to graduate our first students in secondary education, with majors in
biology, commercial education, English, history, physical education, physical science and sociology.”
For some reason he did not include mathematics. Maybe he had already heard that Boyd Murray
and I would be members of the 1960 freshman class. Thanks, however, to the work of Dr. Henry M.
Eldridge, a mathematics program was developed, and I am proud that I was one of its fu-st two graduates. It
was also during this time that Fayetteville State College enrolled its first White student, Maiy Pohlman, who
is now a successful physician.
Thus, Fayetteville State University as we know it today was begun with the vision of Dr. Rudolph Jones.
His vision was embraced by President Charles “A” Lyons, who, after FSU became a constituent institution
of the University of North Carolina in 1972, served tirelessly as our first chancellor for 18 years.
During the years of Jones and Lyons the university’s enrollment grew from 943 students to over 2,000,
and programs leading
processional of the
Willis B. McLeod
UNC President C.D. Spangler
congratulates newly installed
Chancellor Dr. Willis B. McLeod
to master’s degrees
began to be offered.
And, in just a short
period of seven years,
under the extraordinaiy
leadership of Lloyd
“Vic” Hackley, our
enrollment grew by 50
increased to 38,
to 17, and the
doctoral program was
boasts an enrollment
of nearly 4,000.
Included in this
number is the class
that will graduate in
the year 2000. This
class consists of 595
eager learners, the
class enrolled at FSU
in a decade.
State Class of 2000
is our future, and a bright future it promises to be. They number, as I mentioned, 595 students, a 53
percent increase in the freshman class over last year. Close to 300 of them are Chancellor’s Scholars,
whose continued academic achievement and community service will earn them full, four-year
Twenty-five percent of this class graduated in the top quarter of their high school classes. Over a
third of these students scored above 900 on the SAT; and 281 come from FSU’s immediate service area
of Cumberland, Bladen, Harnett, Hoke, Sampson and Robeson counties. Of these, 209 students are from
right here in Cumberland County.
Each of these freshmen is special, because they will be Fayetteville State University’s first graduates
launched into the next century to pursue their post-graduate studies and chosen careers. The Class of
2000! Just four years away ...
As we head toward the 21st century, what will Fayetteville State University become? How will this
institution change and adapt to reflect the technological advances that are being made every day?
How will we cope with the virtual explosion in the amount of information that citizens in the
coming millennium will be exposed to and have to absorb and process in order to remain productive and
How will Fayetteville State University deal with the numerous societal problems that seem to beset
us from all quarters, in such areas as education, health, welfare, job creation, and certainly the problems
of our youth, especially Black males in our community?
As a university, or if you will, a “communiversity,” concerned with and involved in our community,
clearly we must be leaders in seeking solutions to present-day human problems that are barriers to the
kind of future we all envision.
And looking ahead, several things are clear for this university’s future.
First and foremost, we must remain true to our roots as a teacher education institution. We must
emphasize good teaching in the classroom, teaching that is responsive to the rapid changes in technology, not to
Dr. McLeod makes his acceptance speech
mention the ever-changing learning styles of today’s students.
However, even as we change the content of what we teach to incorporate knowledge and skills relevant
to the next century, we must remain true to Charles Chesnutt’s vision of inspiring each of our students to
“honorable ambitions.” We must continue to “Point them to the heights of knowledge, and tell them how
to attain them; to the temple of fame, and how to reach it.”
Secondly, we cannot neglect the learning that goes on outside the classroom. To this end, we have
begun our Freshman Year Initiative, whose purpose is to educate the whole student.
“FYI” will help us develop our students’ abilities both as scholars and as well-rounded individuals
who are ready to function competitively in the real world. “FYI” will help us produce students who are
ready to become leaders of their communities, contributing to the enhanced well-being of all citizens.
“PYP’ yyjii ease our class of 2000’s transition fixim high school to university life. It will provide the social,
cultural, personal, and, of course, academic support necessary to enable our students to be successful.
From beginning to end, preschool through postgraduate studies, teaching is our business and the
heart of our mission.
To this end, we have begun faculty development efforts across the university to enable our faculty to
diversify and enrich their teaching skills, and to adapt new technologies for use in their classrooms, so that
they may become more adept as facilitators of learning.
In support of these initiatives, I am very proud to announce that Fayetteville State University is
establishing its very first endowed faculty chair, the Lloyd “Vic” Hackley Endowed Professorship.
I am deeply grateful to President Spangler, to the board of directors of the FSU Foundation, to the
citizens of this community and to the General Assembly for making this first endowed chair possible.
In addition to our first endowed chair, I am just as proud to announce that the Lloyd “Vic” Hackley
Scholarship Fund has grown to over $125,000. Matched with a legislative grant of $250,000, these funds
will be used to honor our commitments to our “FIRST” students when they enter FSU in the year 2000.
“FIRST” stands for “Future Freshman Incentives — Reaching Students Today.” We have nearly 300
at-risk ninth-graders from six counties enrolled in “FIRST,” and have promised them their tuition for
their first year of college if they maintain a record of academic and behavioral excellence and graduate
from high school.
“FIRST” provides these students with hope for their future and a powerful incentive to apply
themselves in middle and high school. During the next five years we plan to expand this program to
encourage many moreiof our youth to aim toward high aspirations and achievement.
I am pleased to announce that this year we have received three new endowed scholarships that will
assist us in bringing worthy students to Fayetteville State who otherwise may not be able to afford a
These new scholarship funds, our newly established faculty chair, and another new development, a
$186,000 gift from the Spangler Foundation, will help launch us into an Annual Fund Campaign for
Fayetteville State University that begins next week.
As we prepare to enter the 21st century, it is clear that the university must embrace the problems and
opportunities of our community and actively promote those ideas and initiatives that will improve our
quality of life, such as the Fayetteville Partnership, Fayetteville for Once and for All, and the upcoming
referendum on public school building bonds.
We must assume a more pro-active role as a significant partner in identifying constructive solutions
and working toward their implementation.
Through our School of Business and Economics, we will do more to help budding entrepreneurs and
small businessmen and women learn how to manage and market their ventures, and to find the capital
they need today to become the success stories of tomorrow.
Through our College of Arts and Sciences, we will build on our nursing and science programs to
assist in meeting the health needs of our region. We will forge new partnerships between our criminal
justice program and local law enforcement to find ways to alleviate crime. And our other liberal arts
programs will pursue numerous opportunities to reach out and elevate the cultural and intellectual life of
During my tenure at Fayetteville State University, our School of Education and the entire university
will find new and expanded ways to reach out to and work with area public schools and community
colleges. Together, our institutions of public education can and will find new methods of improving
preparation of public school students for higher education or the job market. We want to build a
seamless highway of educational opportunities for all. Together with our public schools and community
colleges, we will find ways of ensuring that our area schools will not be affected by a nationally
anticipated shortfall of over two million teachers in the next ten years.
Together, our institutions of public education can and will ensure a higher standard and quality of
life for all of our citizens in the Cape Fear region. We will work smarter and harder as a team to ensure
every child has the best opportunity to learn, to develop personal qualities that guarantee success, and to
become a productive member of society.
Martin Luther King said he wanted to be —————
remembered as someone who tried to help
people, and he said that the best legacy we
can leave our children is to leave them well-
educated. That is the legacy I hope to leave to
this community and this region. A big vision?
Yes, but I’ve often said that if big visions like
this are to be realized, they must begin with a
series of littie tries.
Every student Fayetteville State enrolls is
a little try.
Every dollar raised toward scholarship
funds at FSU is a littie try.
Every alumnus or alunrna we bring back
into our fold is a littie try.
Every professor who begins to use multi-
media in the classroom or uses our new
Distance Learning Center is a littie try.
Every public school student we encourage
to work a httie harder and to aim a little higher
is a little try.
And every new program we establish
jointiy with a public school or a community
college is a Uttle try.
Together, these littie tries add up to a big
vision for Fayetteville State University’s future.
I assume the responsibility for leading
the university toward achieving this vision
with the inspiration of the seven men who, in
1867, started with a little try ...
The Howard School, a two-story, wood-
frame building on Gillespie Street, which today
is Fayetteville State University with 40 buildings
and 4,000 students.
Thank you very much, and may God continue
to richly bless each and every one of you.*